The Folly of Endless Economic Growth

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
2,233
30
48
41
Montreal
I was listening to a radio show the other day where there was a discussion on immigration.

At one point, I was startled by what an economist said.

''We depend on immigration for economic growth''

Put in context, he meant that without immigration, Canadians are not having enough babies to sustain our population and that we need immigration in order for there to be more citizens.

This made me think... If we need our population to constantly be on the rise to sustain economic growth, then it follows that all other countries need population growth for economic growth.

If all countries need their population to grow for economic growth, does that mean that world population necessarily must be in constant growth in order for there to be a healthy global economy?

In other words, is growth really needed in a healthy economy? It seems to me that in a world of limited resources, endless economic growth can only lead to nowhere, yet nearly all economists have as mantra that a healthy economy is a growing economy.

Any thoughts on what I see as being a problem?

I don't know much about economical issues. Perhaps someone can explain what I might be missing...
 

Cliffy

Standing Member
Nov 19, 2008
44,850
191
63
Nakusp, BC
I don't think you are missing anything. Endless economic growth will lead to eventual collapse of the environment and thus mass die offs of all species, including ours. Economists must be endlessly stupid.
 

DaSleeper

Trolling Hypocrites
May 27, 2007
33,676
1,663
113
Northern Ontario,
Must be a government economist.....because at the rate the gov. likes to spend you need a steady influx of taxpayers....but I can't see them letting the illegals in though...they keep making withdrawals on the system and not too many deposits:roll:
 

Bar Sinister

Executive Branch Member
Jan 17, 2010
8,252
19
38
Edmonton
A rapidly growing population is the simplest way to stimulate economic growth. A low birthrate is one of the major reasons for the slowdown in Japan's population. However, there are other ways to stimulate economic growth that are equally effective; one being giving the lower income earners more spending power. There are a number of ways to do this, but two of the most effective are the elimination of health care costs and completely free education. Healthier and better educated people tend to earn more on their own and as a result consume more goods.
 

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
2,233
30
48
41
Montreal
A rapidly growing population is the simplest way to stimulate economic growth. A low birthrate is one of the major reasons for the slowdown in Japan's population. However, there are other ways to stimulate economic growth that are equally effective; one being giving the lower income earners more spending power. There are a number of ways to do this, but two of the most effective are the elimination of health care costs and completely free education. Healthier and better educated people tend to earn more on their own and as a result consume more goods.

I'm certainly not against free health care and free education. But does economy necessarily have to be growing in order to be healthy? Can't it simply be sustainable?
 

JLM

Hall of Fame Member
Nov 27, 2008
75,301
547
113
Vernon, B.C.
I was listening to a radio show the other day where there was a discussion on immigration.

At one point, I was startled by what an economist said.

''We depend on immigration for economic growth''

Put in context, he meant that without immigration, Canadians are not having enough babies to sustain our population and that we need immigration in order for there to be more citizens.

This made me think... If we need our population to constantly be on the rise to sustain economic growth, then it follows that all other countries need population growth for economic growth.

If all countries need their population to grow for economic growth, does that mean that world population necessarily must be in constant growth in order for there to be a healthy global economy?

In other words, is growth really needed in a healthy economy? It seems to me that in a world of limited resources, endless economic growth can only lead to nowhere, yet nearly all economists have as mantra that a healthy economy is a growing economy.

Any thoughts on what I see as being a problem?

I don't know much about economical issues. Perhaps someone can explain what I might be missing...

Sounds something like the guy that screwed himself out of a place at the kitchen table. Ooops poor analogy! :lol::lol::lol:
 

captain morgan

Hall of Fame Member
Mar 28, 2009
28,429
145
63
A Mouse Once Bit My Sister
A rapidly growing population is the simplest way to stimulate economic growth. A low birthrate is one of the major reasons for the slowdown in Japan's population. However, there are other ways to stimulate economic growth that are equally effective; one being giving the lower income earners more spending power. There are a number of ways to do this, but two of the most effective are the elimination of health care costs and completely free education. Healthier and better educated people tend to earn more on their own and as a result consume more goods.

I believe that Canada's problem is similar to that of Japan's in that the existing population are having fewer children such that the parents are not "replacing" themselves, as such, the long-term trend is that the nation's population is declining. Unlike Japan, Canada has an immigration policy that seeks to deal with this by admitting new "citizens" into the country.

There is a real balancing act necessary to maintain base level economic activity, but not exceed the capacity of infrastructure, (social) services, etc.. If you want a good example of the effects of rapid, unfettered growth; just look at the example in Alberta over the last 5-10 years. The cities like the opportunity to generate higher revenues through the tax base, however, there are large, long-term costs in terms of roads, hospitals, services, etc.
 

Avro

Time Out
Feb 12, 2007
7,815
65
48
53
Oshawa
The logic of population and economic growth is insane.

In the end it's self defeating.

In consumption and what a larger population does to the enviroment.

Population growth has stalled in China because of the single child law and I'd be hard pressed to find higher economic growth than what is going on in China.
 

Bar Sinister

Executive Branch Member
Jan 17, 2010
8,252
19
38
Edmonton
I believe that Canada's problem is similar to that of Japan's in that the existing population are having fewer children such that the parents are not "replacing" themselves, as such, the long-term trend is that the nation's population is declining. Unlike Japan, Canada has an immigration policy that seeks to deal with this by admitting new "citizens" into the country.

There is a real balancing act necessary to maintain base level economic activity, but not exceed the capacity of infrastructure, (social) services, etc.. If you want a good example of the effects of rapid, unfettered growth; just look at the example in Alberta over the last 5-10 years. The cities like the opportunity to generate higher revenues through the tax base, however, there are large, long-term costs in terms of roads, hospitals, services, etc.


No argument from me only your reply this time CM.
 

djwood

New Member
Apr 2, 2013
8
0
1
Mildmay, Ontario
I was listening to a radio show the other day where there was a discussion on immigration.

At one point, I was startled by what an economist said.

''We depend on immigration for economic growth''

Put in context, he meant that without immigration, Canadians are not having enough babies to sustain our population and that we need immigration in order for there to be more citizens.

This made me think... If we need our population to constantly be on the rise to sustain economic growth, then it follows that all other countries need population growth for economic growth.

If all countries need their population to grow for economic growth, does that mean that world population necessarily must be in constant growth in order for there to be a healthy global economy?




In other words, is growth really needed in a healthy economy? It seems to me that in a world of limited resources, endless economic growth can only lead to nowhere, yet nearly all economists have as mantra that a healthy economy is a growing economy.

Any thoughts on what I see as being a problem?

I don't know much about economical issues. Perhaps someone can explain what I might be missing...

The only Folly I see is believing that you can convince the public that there are limits to growth.
We got ours and we don't need to deal with the truth.

I remember that the issue of unbridled growth was on the activist's agenda back in the 60s culminating in Earth Day in 69.
We had our say, did our schtick and than sold out.
Even Bob Dylan sold out when the "Times they are a changn'" went for a price to the Bank of Montreal for commercials.
 

Machjo

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
17,878
61
48
Ottawa, ON
I don't see how immigration leads to economic groth. If one moves from one country to another, he may contribute to the economic growth the country to which he immigrated, but is also contributing to the economic degroth of the country from which he is immigrating. One would thing that breaks even more or less, unless of course his skill set was not in demand in his home country but is in the new country, in which case he may be reducing the economic burden on his former country while contributing more to the new country. It really depends. But generally speaking, I think a labour movement agreement between countries could be a positive step in that direction.

A rapidly growing population is the simplest way to stimulate economic growth. A low birthrate is one of the major reasons for the slowdown in Japan's population. However, there are other ways to stimulate economic growth that are equally effective; one being giving the lower income earners more spending power. There are a number of ways to do this, but two of the most effective are the elimination of health care costs and completely free education. Healthier and better educated people tend to earn more on their own and as a result consume more goods.

...and are likely to have more children. The wealth gap is likely to make many reconsider having children.

I will say though that economic stability is preferable to economic groth. In fact, I'd say government should never try to force economic groth. It ought to aim at economic stability, and if the market can grow within that stability, so much th ebetter, but that should be viewed as an added bonus, not a requirement.

However, as for immigration, I don't agree with this idea that people ought to have a right to a job based on nationality. There is a moral and ethical issue here. If we are all members of one human family, then shoudl we not open our borders to give everyone an equal chance?
 

JLM

Hall of Fame Member
Nov 27, 2008
75,301
547
113
Vernon, B.C.
What does "economic growth" really mean? Is it something that is necessary for the average family? To me it's just a whole bunch of bullsh*t and another name for greed. It's part and parcel of the "rich get rich and the poor get poorer" situation. We don't need economic growth, we just need put three meals on the table, have an adequate dwelling, heat and power supply, some clothes, means of communication, access to transportation and ability to maintain health. "Economic growth" is just all this other sh*t we don't need. Where does economic growth end? A 6' X 3' spot in the cemetary!
 

Sal

Hall of Fame Member
Sep 29, 2007
17,135
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48
What does "economic growth" really mean? Is it something that is necessary for the average family? To me it's just a whole bunch of bullsh*t and another name for greed. It's part and parcel of the "rich get rich and the poor get poorer" situation. We don't need economic growth, we just need put three meals on the table, have an adequate dwelling, heat and power supply, some clothes, means of communication, access to transportation and ability to maintain health. "Economic growth" is just all this other sh*t we don't need. Where does economic growth end? A 6' X 3' spot in the cemetary!

steady growth in the productive capacity of the economy (and so a growth of national income).
I agree we need stability and an opportunity for all to be gainfully employed to meet a certain standard of living, anything above and beyond seems to disappear down some black hole of greed and is never realized by the average person.
 

L Gilbert

Winterized
Nov 30, 2006
23,738
107
63
68
50 acres in Kootenays BC
the-brights.net
I was listening to a radio show the other day where there was a discussion on immigration.

At one point, I was startled by what an economist said.

''We depend on immigration for economic growth''

Put in context, he meant that without immigration, Canadians are not having enough babies to sustain our population and that we need immigration in order for there to be more citizens.

This made me think... If we need our population to constantly be on the rise to sustain economic growth, then it follows that all other countries need population growth for economic growth.

If all countries need their population to grow for economic growth, does that mean that world population necessarily must be in constant growth in order for there to be a healthy global economy?

In other words, is growth really needed in a healthy economy? It seems to me that in a world of limited resources, endless economic growth can only lead to nowhere, yet nearly all economists have as mantra that a healthy economy is a growing economy.

Any thoughts on what I see as being a problem?

I don't know much about economical issues. Perhaps someone can explain what I might be missing...
In a general sense, yes. But it's more that capitalism needs the increasing rate of economic growth. Governments feed capitalism and in the case of communism, government IS the capitalist engine. It's just another pointless cycle in life.
The problem with it is that Earth has a limited supply of substances that compose life and the more humanity there is, the fewer other living things there are.
Economists and others aren't necessarily stupid, just short-sighted. It'd be much wiser to stabilize than to constantly grow, and at this point, we're not even close to stability. So, we keep degrading Earth and the net result is an erosion of life in general. Bigger and more are not necessarily better; sorta like the adage about too much of a good thing.
 

Sal

Hall of Fame Member
Sep 29, 2007
17,135
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48
I am curious as to why it is a problem....seems people get upset if things resurface...what am I missing, just wondering.
 

JLM

Hall of Fame Member
Nov 27, 2008
75,301
547
113
Vernon, B.C.
I am curious as to why it is a problem....seems people get upset if things resurface...what am I missing, just wondering.

What you are missing Sal, isn't much, mostly that some people HAVE to have something to bitch about.-:)